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Amazon files for Amazon Pharmacy trademark in the UK

Retail giant Amazon has filed a trademark for the name “Amazon Pharmacy” in the UK, Canada and Australia.

The trademark – the application for which was submitted on January 9 this year, according to reports by US media outlet CNBC – is listed as under “examination” by the UK Intellectual Property Office.

The CNBC report stated that Amazon Pharmacy could start dispensing pharmaceutical prescriptions and also move into the medical and dental instruments and surgical markets.

The news follows an announcement in 2018 that Amazon had acquired US online pharmacy business PillPack.

Following the revelation regarding the Amazon Pharmacy trademark application, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) stressed the crucial role played by bricks-and-mortar pharmacies, urging patients not to rely solely on online outlets.

RPS president Sandra Gidley said: “While the public are increasingly buying online, it is vitally important to note that medicines are not normal consumer items. There is real importance and value in the face-to-face interaction between patients and a pharmacist and this must not be lost.

“Each interaction is an opportunity to make a health intervention and to ensure people have no issues with their medicines and are taking them safely.”

Ms Gidley added that the public should keep supporting their local pharmacies. “Pharmacists see patients when they are well and also spot signs of deteriorating health. I would urge patients to continue to support their community pharmacy so that the service is still there when they need it,” she said.

“Community pharmacy does and will continue to play a vital role within our NHS and we will continue to press for better use to be made of the community pharmacy workforce.”

Gareth Jones, head of corporate affairs at the National Pharmacy Association, said: “Patient safety is the top priority for pharmacists and medicines are not ordinary items of commerce, so pass through a highly regulated supply chain.  Amazon would have to significantly upgrade its delivery network to deliver medicines and handle things like fridge items and controlled drugs.

“An increasing number of people find it convenient to order their medication online but at the same time, people value the face-to-face care available in local pharmacies, close to where they live, work and shop.”

Duncan Rudkin, chief executive of the general pharmaceutical council, told C+D: “All pharmacies that want to operate in Great Britain, including online pharmacies, have to demonstrate how they will meet our standards before they can join our register.

“Online pharmacy owners are also expected to follow our guidance on providing pharmacy services at a distance, including on the internet, to make sure patients and the public receive safe and effective care.

“This guidance states clearly that selling and supplying medicines at a distance brings different risks which need to be appropriately managed. Medicines are not ordinary items of commerce, and the guidance sets out what pharmacy owners have to do to protect patient safety”.

 

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